Question about Bulova Accutron Watches

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I648725 Need to know what year it was made

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Terrence MacArthur

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Since the 1950s Bulova has used a 2 digit date code, usually on the back below the serial number. The letter is the decade (L= '50s, M='60s, N=70s, etc.) and the number is the year. For example, a Bulova with a date code of M3 was made in 1963, one with N0 was made in 1970, and so on. Prior to the 1950s, it's more complicated.

Posted on Aug 06, 2014

  • Terrence MacArthur Aug 06, 2014

    My answer revised: The first Accutron was made in 1960. Since the 1950s Bulova has used a 2 digit date code, usually on the back below the serial number. The letter is the decade (L= '50s, M='60s, N='70s, etc.) and the number is the year. For example, a Bulova with a date code of M3 was made in 1963, one with N0 was made in 1970, and so on. The Accutron is collectible (and valuable) because of its tuning fork movement, which was a revolutionary horological innovation. It was incredibly accurate and precise (two somewhat different things), guaranteed to be within +/- 2 seconds a day. Unortunately, Seiko introduced the quartz movement in 1969, which was even morev accurate and precise (although an improvement beyond +/- 2 seconds/day isn't really of any practical use in a wristwatch). It was also a lot simpler and cheaper to make. The last "true" Accutrons were made in 1977, the same year they made the first quartz "Accutrons", which are not collectible. Bulova currently makes automatic (self-winding) mechanical movement Accutrons, which are a very nice upper mid-level watch, and an Accutron II, which mimics the original in its looks and its sweep second hand, but which uses their "Precisionist" movement, which is a quartz movement.

  • Terrence MacArthur Aug 06, 2014

    PS: With Bulovas, at least since the 1950s, the serial number cannot be used to determine the manufacture date.

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